My techniques are not magic, but they seem to be quite different than how I see lots of managers/companies operating.
If you have determined that you truly need to hire someone, that generally means that your team is hurting - it needs resources that it doesn't have - at some level you are already failing. Your #1 mission as a Lean manager is to protect the team and to get it the stuff it needs to be successful. Once you are in this position, barring a crisis, you have no task that is more important than filling the position with the most qualified person you can find as quickly as possible.
So my co-worker Ed termed what I do yesterday, "the blitz". Here is generally how it works:
Step 1: Collect Qualified Peeps
- Check your network for a trusted person.
- If FAIL, post job to the places the kewl kids are. Examples here and here
- If FAIL, post job to craigslist and batten down the hatches - you are going to get inundated with qualified and unqualified people contacting you. DO NOT put your phone number on these job postings.
- If FAIL, do WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO to find qualified candidates. Get creative, clocks tickn'.
- Pick the ones that look like they are truly talented and passionate.
- Schedule in person interview for today or tomorrow
- Short list.
- Give the short list candidates a homework assignment. Something they can do in a couple of hours that will make it abundantly clear who is the most talented & the best fit.
- Define decision making rules so everybody on the team understands how the decision will be made (e.g., unanimous vote, majority, or defer decision to manager for expediency and efficiency)
- Depending on the position, pick one, more, or all people from the team to interview the finalists after they have reviewed the homework results for fit, talent, and passion.
- Gather feedback
I think the only major difference compared to typical hiring practices is in how I do this. I go all in. It's a blitz. When I'm in this mode, I generally do it 8-12 hours a day until I'm done. I can generally wrap up hiring someone in <= 2 weeks from start to finish. And the results generally speak for themselves. This technique works great for me as the "hiring manager" and for job candidates.
Hiring people can be quick and painless or can drag on and on for weeks and months if you don't make it priority #1. While you have unfilled positions, you are continuing to fail (at some level). Your team is continuing to feel pain. Distraction grows and grows. Before you know it, your project is failing.
Anyway, this way works for me. Your mileage may vary.
Now next week I can get back to job #2 of a Lean manager: empowering the team/sharing leadership, staying out of the way, & adding real value off the critical path.
19-APR 9:30 PT: Updated with links to Lean SW Dev.